Fuzzy Feet and Voles to Meet

Friday, April 13, 2018

Overlooked and disrespected, halflings and gnomes get by in their own way. Human society's misguided expectations don't mean much when you know who you are and what you're about. Let's take a look at the ancestry entries for these folks!

You might also want to take a gander at the Big Beards and Pointy Ears blog to see how dwarves and elves work if you're a fan of ancestries that are entirely too tall and entirely too stuffy.

Illustration by Wayne Reynolds

Halflings

Living among taller folk gives halflings a good bit of perspective and plenty of opportunities to make new friends—plenty of opportunities of all kinds, really. Keep your eyes open and your heart brave, and you can accomplish anything!

Both halflings and gnomes get 8 Hit Points from their respective ancestries, are Small, and have a speed of 20 feet. A halfling speaks Common and Halfling. Halflings have nimble fingers, giving them an ability boost to Dexterity, and are jovial, getting another ability boost in Charisma. They also get one free ability boost to put in any score. Now, there's nothing wrong with how you're made, but halflings do get an ability flaw to Strength. Seems like a better deal, though. Goblins are a bit stronger, but they're not so wise, and good sense is a good trade. (You can read more about goblins here!)

We've mentioned ability boosts and flaws a few times now, so let's go into more detail about how those work! At 1st level, your ability scores all start at 10. Your ancestry then gives you ability boosts, each of which increases the score by 2. Most ancestries get three ability boosts, two of which have to go into specific scores. The remaining free ability boost can go into any score except the two set ones. Most ancestries also get a flaw, which decreases a designated score by 2. You can put your free ability boost in the same score as your flaw if you want to get back to 10. In later parts of character creation, you'll get more ability boosts, which we'll cover in later blogs! (And if you want to roll your ability scores randomly, we have an option for that in the playtest so you can see how that might work, though we prefer for characters used in the playtest to be generated in the standard way.)

Now, where was I? Halflings, right!

At 1st level and as they level up, halflings can pick up halfling ancestry feats that take advantage of their size, their gumption, and their fabled luck. Distracting Shadows lets them sneak around by using larger creatures as cover. They might also pick up Plucky to overcome fear and other detriments to their emotions. They can take Titan Slinger to get a bonus to damage when using their slings against Large or larger creatures. This bonus increases on critical hits, even before being doubled! Additionally, the sling is now a more formidable weapon than in Pathfinder First Edition—we've both increased its damage and done away with the difference in damage die size between Small and Medium creatures. A halfling with a sling can be pretty dangerous!

One feat we know will be popular is Lucky Halfling, which lets you reroll one skill check or saving throw you fail or critically fail once each day. Rules in the Pathfinder Playtest Rulebook list traits that apply to feats, often indicating special rules. This one has the fortune trait, which appears on all sorts of things that involve rerolls and manipulating dice in your favor. You can benefit from fortune only once on a given roll, and misfortune can cancel it out.

As mentioned in the blog post about dwarves and elves, ancestry entries suggest some backgrounds you might choose that are common for those of your ancestry. Halflings are often entertainers, acrobats, or street urchins. Many come from hard lives as criminals or laborers.

Illustration by Wayne Reynolds

Gnomes

What's THAT?!

A gnome's life is a constant barrage of the curious, the compelling, the cacophonous, the colorful, and the chaotic. There's always something new to discover. There... kind of has to be. See, gnomes who don't take in enough novel experiences are stricken by the Bleaching—their colorful hair turns white as their minds fall into despair. So let's not do that. Let's explore!

Now, when you're exploring, it's good to be durable because who knows what you might encounter. It helps that gnomes are tough and charming, with ability boosts to Constitution and Charisma, plus their one free ability boost to any other score. Gnomes have a flaw in Strength. Who needs it? Magic's better. And alchemical bombs. Those look fun. Gnomes can speak Common, Gnome, and Sylvan, but might want to study up on some other languages too. They can also see in low light—all the better for exploring into the dusk.

Gnomes came from the First World, the realm of the fey, long ago. Their ancestry feats can reflect this, like Fey Fellowship, which makes a gnome more charismatic when dealing with fey, or First World Magic, which gives the gnome a cantrip spell chosen from a wide number of options (including dancing lights, prestidigitation, and tanglefoot, to name a few).

Discerning Smell lets a gnome truly appreciate peculiar food and drink, or sniff out that invisible orc who's caked in the clay from a particular mountain pass, hasn't bathed in roughly 8 years, and recently ate a live bird. (A swallow, fittingly.) And, of course, you can choose Animal Speaker so you can talk to all your favorite burrowing animals!

A gnome's younger years will no doubt be weird, so they could have any kind of background—even a path they abandoned early on. A gnome might be an entertainer, a merchant, a nomad, an animal whisperer, a barkeep, or a farmhand.

How do these two ancestries stack up? (About 6 feet high, I'd say.) What sort of halfling or gnome characters do you look forward to playing?

Logan Bonner
Designer

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Mark Seifter wrote:
Imagine you have two generic pieces you can use to build a game, Piece 1 is Complexity 10 Depth 1, Piece 2 is Complexity 1 Depth 10. If you remove Piece 1 and also add Piece 2, the overall game has more depth and lower complexity, but if you only look at the removal of Piece 1 alone, that removal reduces depth by a little (and complexity by a lot).

I'm really hoping Piece 2 isn't lots and lots of class feats that give you mutually exclusive options you can do each round with the depth being choosing the best action. Because we've had games with that sort of complexity (only they were called Powers and not feats and the game gave Pathfinder enough momentum to be the success story it is today) and the so called depth turned out to be really shallow.


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Dragonborn3 wrote:

So it sounds like the highest score you can have is a 14 at level one, and even then only if you have an 8?

14, 12, 10, 10, 10, 8
12, 12, 10, 10, 10 10

How is that array going to allow for much variety? The more I learn the less this sounds like they are 'fixing problems with the game' and it already didn't sound a lot like that to me.

Again - We know this isn't correct.

They say stats start at 10, they are referring to before the point buy. Again, we HAVE Kyra's level 1 ability scores. They contain an 18 Wisdom, a 14 Strength, a 12 Dex, and a 14 Charisma.

Thus your above array isn't the way it works.

If we assume Kyra is human, and she gets to place two +2's with no -2 then her stat array is:

14/12/10/10/18/14

So, while stats start at 10, the same way they do in Pathfinder, you had more to add to them than just the racial stats. Please stop spreading that likely misinformation.


Tangent101 wrote:
TheAuldGrump wrote:

With this one Blog post my interest in Pathfinder 2 has been halved. :(

Up to now my interest had been slowly building, but I really do not like the way ability scores are created, and I loathe getting rid of damage adjustments for smaller sized characters.

It could still turn back around for me - but as of now, I am much more likely to stick with the current edition.

You realize, we don't know how they are doing stat generation just yet. There are guesses, sure, but they're just guesses. And hell, it was stated you could have a Cleric with a Wisdom of 10 - which suggests some form of point distribution exists.

And why the hell are people so enthralled with screwing over small-sized races? Seriously, how many people have NOT chosen to play a halfling or gnome or other small-sized race because it would negatively impact their chances of acquiring magic armor and weapons that were not custom-build for them? I think I can count the number of times small-sized magic weapons were left in the entire Runelords Adventure Path on just two hands. Compare that to the dozens of medium-sized weapons and armor.

If you don't like it, just think of the scene in The Hobbit when Bilbo takes up an elvish blade and feels it would suit him like a sword, even though it was "a pocket knife" I think was how Sting was described? Bilbo repurposed an elvish dagger to serve him as a sword. Given how blades are forged with the pommel separate from the blade, it would be fairly easy to remove an existing pommel of a short sword or dagger and replace them with one designed for the somewhat-smaller fingers of halflings and gnomes.

I just cannot fathom why weapon-size would be a deal-breaker.

You DID bother to read the actual post, right? Where they describe starting with 10, and then modifying from there?

THAT is not a 'guess' - that is what the good folks at Paizo themselves have said.

I prefer to create the base stats and work from there - not have it dribble out in stages during character generation.

You don't get why a longer sword - with more leverage and greater mass - would do more damage than the same design at a smaller size? Or why wanting big weapons to hit harder than small weapons might be a deal breaker? Okay...

I hate to tell you this, but there is a thing called verisimilitude... not reality, but the SEEMING of reality - and this is diminishing that seeming of reality. 'Cause, you see, BIG THINGS DO HIT HARDER - and this is something that people know from real life. They may not know how a magic missile does damage, but they DO know that a big hammer hits harder than a small hammer.

Simple, yes?

Bilbo claiming that a dagger is a sword is a really great way of saying that Tolkien didn't know anything about how weapons are used.

While it COULD have gotten a new hilt and pommel (though there is a bit more to it than popping off the old and popping on the new - proportions are not the same between a dagger and a sword - size aside) at no point in the story does Bilbo actually DO so.

Much as I love Tolkien's writing, holding him up to explain how weapons work is only slightly better than using Middle Earth as an example of world building through applied geography.


Jesikah Morning's Dew wrote:
glass wrote:
Megistone wrote:
No chance that an halfling of gnome has, on average, the same strength as a human.

A chimpanzee is about the size of a gnome or goblin. If you really believe that nothing the size of a halfling could be as strong as a human, I suggest you try wrestling a champanzee.

...except really, really don't. They'll rip you apart, small size notwithstanding.

Once again, this is gamers not understanding the extent of physical abilities and how they apply even to our real world, much less a high fantasy one. Happens all the time with martial feats, and often in cases like these regarding smaller creatures. I mean, forget even chimps (though they're terrifically strong and could easily kill most grown adults) — have you ever tried wrestling with or even holding a 90-lb. dog on a leash when it tries to take off? I used to wrestle with my 85-lb. Staffordshire for fun; the sweetest dog in the world, but I could barely hold him off of me and I'm in pretty good shape. He wasn't actively trying to go full-force and kill me. He was holding back because he was playing and didn't want to hurt me.

No doubt on that, but we are talking about humanoids here. Should an average gnome be as strong as an average human? Should he be able to wield a greatsword that is taller than him?

If you wanted to build a gnome barbarian in PF, you weren't optimal because you were probably dishing out 3 less damage per attack and getting only a +1 AC in exchange (with the same to-hit score as a medium character), but I think whis was far from enough to make the character unplayable.
From what we know, now you can now have a child-like using an oversized weapon without any kind of problem. Sounds very wierd to me.


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Pathfinder Adventure Path, Roleplaying Game Subscriber
Nox Aeterna wrote:
Tangent101 wrote:
If you don't like it, just think of the scene in The Hobbit when Bilbo takes up an elvish blade and feels it would suit him like a sword, even though it was "a pocket knife" I think was how Sting was described? Bilbo repurposed an elvish dagger to serve him as a sword. Given how blades are forged with the pommel separate from the blade, it would be fairly easy to remove an existing pommel of a short sword or dagger and replace them with one designed for the somewhat-smaller fingers of halflings and gnomes.

And when the small guy decides to instead pick up the great sword that is actually much larger than him the halforc just dropped?

That logic doesnt cover even cases that took one second to think about.

Same could be said about a fullplate for a medium guy now being used by a small one and so on and on.

Changing the dice DOESNT remove weapon neither armor size. It still remains to be seen how this was, if at all, changed.

Then you give them massive penalties to hit with the blade.

In AD&D halflings and gnomes could not use two-handed weapons because they were too big for them to effectively use. The same mechanic could easily be put into effect for Pathfinder 2.

As for the armor? Obviously you need to get armor resized. This actually is true for anyone. If you were in the field and killed someone wearing full plate, you can't just pull it off him and start wearing it yourself. You have to have the straps adjusted by an armorer. You have to have work done on the armor. These are things that are glossed over in the game but obviously happen.

So. How does this differ? And with magic armor (and weapons for that matter) you can have resizing as a part of it - the grip resizes so it fits your hand more effectively, or the armor adjusts itself so it fits you better and that's part of why it's magic.

Seriously, size limitations were not a problem with AD&D and a lot of folk had no idea why they were added for 3x D&D. Of course, I've also been playing for nearly 40 years so I've been through several editions by now. Those of you who started with 3x undoubtedly have a different view of things. But this doesn't make the change something bad or to be hated.


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glass wrote:
Megistone wrote:
No chance that an halfling of gnome has, on average, the same strength as a human.

A chimpanzee is about the size of a gnome or goblin. If you really believe that nothing the size of a halfling could be as strong as a human, I suggest you try wrestling a champanzee.

A chimpanzee is NOT the size of a gnome or goblin. chimpanzees weigh about 100 lbs. gnomes weigh about 40 lbs and goblins weigh about 30lbs.

Also chimpanzee strength is only about 1.35- 1.5 x as strong as a human pound for pound.

Imagine if a human only weighed 30-35 lbs (the weight of a halfling), but retained his same strength. You would expect to be able to jump 10-15 feet in the air... and I would expect that your run speed would be dramatically improved. On the other hand, if you punched someone it probably wouldn't do nearly as much damage (putting your body weight into a hit is where the majority of the force comes from)


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TheAuldGrump wrote:

Bilbo claiming that a dagger is a sword is a really great way of saying that Tolkien didn't know anything about how weapons are used.

While it COULD have gotten a new hilt and pommel (though there is a bit more to it than popping off the old and popping on the new - proportions are not the same between a dagger and a sword - size aside) at no point in the story does Bilbo actually DO so.

Obviously it was elvish magic at work that the pommel adjusted itself to effectively fit in Bilbo's hands. I mean, Thorin took an elvish blade himself and had no problems wielding it, and he was only maybe a foot taller than Bilbo.

Also, the shape of the blade was why Bilbo was able to use the blade as a sword. This was not a sword... or if it was, it was a sword designed for a child, probably to help train that child in how to fight (and let that theoretical elvish child defend themselves from any Orcish or Goblin raiders who raided the region).

So why is it so horrific to consider that part of the magic of a magic sword is that it can reshape itself subtly to better suit its wielder? The pommel reshapes itself specifically for the hand of the person using it - whether you're talking a slight human woman, a female halfling, a dwarvish male, or a hulking male human barbarian. Trust me, someone with huge hands would not be able to use the same pommel as someone who is a five-foot female... but you don't see rules specifying that the human female can't use the dagger or sword owned by that male barbarian even though he was nearly seven feet tall.

At a certain point you have to walk away from "realism" and allow things to slide. If a five-foot human can use the same exact blade as a nearly-seven-foot human, and the same exact armor, then why can't a halfling or gnome?


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Pathfinder Starfinder Adventure Path Subscriber
TheAuldGrump wrote:


You don't get why a longer sword - with more leverage and greater mass - would do more damage than the same design at a smaller size? Or why wanting big weapons to hit harder than small weapons might be a deal breaker? Okay...

Orignal 3e did not have different damage dice for small and medium sizes, it just differentiated which sized characters could use them by proportionality. Honestly, I hated when they changed it to the multi-die size system, and I’m glad to see an alternative. Keep in mind PF2 may have a similar system, or other way a la 5e to limit what sizes of weapons small characters can use. I don’t see it as the death knell of plausibility if PF2 goes to such a way to differentiate instead of the multi-weapon size system.


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I imagine giving the same dice of damage is a balance issue, considering when you get new weapons, the number of dice is increased when inflicting damage. I would like to see STR be indicative of a strength-to-mass ratio, divorced from size, but size would apply a flat size modifier to damage (e.g., -2 damage for Small size, +2 damage for Large size). It wouldn't scale, so it wouldn't break much, and the small races can have the same attribute bonus variation as the larger races, instead of always wondering whether the small race should get a STR penalty. I think the big problem with that would be the sacred cow aspect, as well as the name of the attribute itself in that most people don't think of the little dude who's really cut as being as strong as a scaled up version of himself. We just don't use "strong" in that way colloquially.

As for the ancestry bonuses, I don't think I'll put my preferences because I think they deviate from the group-think. (I also would push goblin off into a splat book.)


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TheAuldGrump wrote:

Bilbo claiming that a dagger is a sword is a really great way of saying that Tolkien didn't know anything about how weapons are used.

While it COULD have gotten a new hilt and pommel (though there is a bit more to it than popping off the old and popping on the new - proportions are not the same between a dagger and a sword - size aside) at no point in the story does Bilbo actually DO so.

Much as I love Tolkien's writing, holding him up to explain how weapons work is only slightly better than using Middle Earth as an example of world building through applied geography.

I'm sure the author who extensively researched everything for a setting he crafted over years, and who also fought in the trenches in World War I, had no clue about how weapons are used.


It's been a long time since I last read LotR, but neither Bilbo nor Frodo received much training in how to use Sting properly and, in any case, never really had to fight a determined atttacker who could see them so tthey might not be particularly good examples.


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I kinda get why all the small races are charismatic. They're all very persuasive.

Gnomes are Diplomatic: "Ah, it's just a little pantsing! No need to reach for your sword. See, I'll pull mine down too. And I don't even have underwear on!

Halfling are great bluffers: "No, ya see, these gems fissure with time. Each crack memorializing its age... and value.

And Goblins... are basically pyromaniac land sharks that sing lively songs while eating their enemies along with their clothing and armor, ya know, since their teeth and digestive tracks are seemingly indestructible. That's fairly intimidating, ya'll. And Jawsome

Silver Crusade

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As someone who has probably a soft 90% of my characters being halflings, and two others being Goblins.

For the love of all that is holy, please don't launch 3 small ancestries all having CHA.

And only Goblins being fast? I could barely make a Halfling that didn't take Fleet of Foot, being slow isn't fun, especially if one is trying to melee, which seems to be a direction that's being considered with the unifying of weapon size damage dice.

Part of the fulfilling fantasy of choosing one ancestry over the other is feeling like your choice was different. Out of the gate all three small ancestries have something in common other than being small. At the very least Humans and their half-breeds have a similarity in being dissimilar.


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Pathfinder Companion, Modules, Roleplaying Game Subscriber; Starfinder Charter Superscriber
Jesikah Morning's Dew wrote:
TheAuldGrump wrote:

Bilbo claiming that a dagger is a sword is a really great way of saying that Tolkien didn't know anything about how weapons are used.

While it COULD have gotten a new hilt and pommel (though there is a bit more to it than popping off the old and popping on the new - proportions are not the same between a dagger and a sword - size aside) at no point in the story does Bilbo actually DO so.

Much as I love Tolkien's writing, holding him up to explain how weapons work is only slightly better than using Middle Earth as an example of world building through applied geography.

I'm sure the author who extensively researched everything for a setting he crafted over years, and who also fought in the trenches in World War I, had no clue about how weapons are used.

I am pretty sure that none of the soldiers Tolkien fought beside were under 4 feet tall, though. We really have no real world equivalent to halflings wielding weapons, even with the smallest of little people.


Yeah I think in real life the size advantage is pretty daunting. I've boxed against guys that have 8 inches on me and that difference makes a huge difference I could only imagine 3 feet. Have to make up for it with speed and precision I suppose.


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David knott 242 wrote:
Jesikah Morning's Dew wrote:
TheAuldGrump wrote:

Bilbo claiming that a dagger is a sword is a really great way of saying that Tolkien didn't know anything about how weapons are used.

While it COULD have gotten a new hilt and pommel (though there is a bit more to it than popping off the old and popping on the new - proportions are not the same between a dagger and a sword - size aside) at no point in the story does Bilbo actually DO so.

Much as I love Tolkien's writing, holding him up to explain how weapons work is only slightly better than using Middle Earth as an example of world building through applied geography.

I'm sure the author who extensively researched everything for a setting he crafted over years, and who also fought in the trenches in World War I, had no clue about how weapons are used.
I am pretty sure that none of the soldiers Tolkien fought beside were under 4 feet tall, though. We really have no real world equivalent to halflings wielding weapons, even with the smallest of little people.

Elves were very tall. Also The Hobbit was full of flowery language. Bilbo musing that the Elvish blade was as good as a short sword for him may have been no more than just that: the fanciful supposition of a Hobbit who'd never seen combat or indeed imagined ever having an adventure at all (the wild, dangerous things that they are).

Tolkien studied swordplay, and smithing, and knew a lot more about combat than most of us could ever imagine. I mean, the trenches of the Somme, they had bayonets and stuff. I'm pretty sure he had some idea about everything that he wrote.


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Since a move to differentiate the Small Core races seems to be building, count me in on voting that a Wisdom bonus is more appropriate for Halflings than a Charisma bonus, even though this conflicts with the Pathfinder 1st Edition description. And also count me in on voting that a Constitution bonus is more appropriate for Goblins than a bonus to any mental score.

Shadow Lodge

Small-sized weapon damage has been updated to 4e/5e rules? That's good - one less thing for folks to remember as they play between the systems.

I imagine we're getting a tag like heavy on the large weapons (greatsword, greataxe) that renders small-sized races unable to wield them by default?


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Hm, has anyone talked about how all abilities seem to have tags associated with them in a way similar to spells.

It is really interesting and allows for some interesting design choices. Now you can build upon "fortune" abilities, which allows future abilities to be included in this


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Pathfinder Adventure Path, Campaign Setting, Cards, Roleplaying Game, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber
Nox Aeterna wrote:
And when the small guy decides to instead pick up the great sword that is actually much larger than him the halforc just dropped?

Agreed. That would be silly. Not that we don't have a few overtly silly things going on in our game, but still.

The problem with weapon size can be easily handled without having an additional collumn with reduced damage for small-sized weapons.

All you need to do is say that small-sized characters can:
- use a shortswort, handaxe or light mace (or smaller weapons) in one hand, or
- use a longsword, battleaxe, shortspear or warhammer in two hands, but
- they can't use a greatsword, polearm with reach, greataxe or similar sized weapons at all.

Additionally, they can use a shortbow, sling or light crossbow, but not a longbow or heavy crossbow (unless it's pintle-mounted).

With relatively simple and intuitive rules like that, you can easily avoid the need for a whole new category of weapons. You can still have oversized weapons with increased damage die for large, huge and bigger adversaries, but since PCs are rarely of those sizes (except for an enlarge spell or similar effect) it will rarely come up.

Of course, we have not had this confirmed. We only know that slings and all other weapons will not have a separate damage die for small characters. But I can't imagine the guys at Paizo allowing a loophole where a 3-foot gnome could routinely swing around a 5-foot greatsword. It's just so not happening. So they must have some rule in mind such as the one I describe here. It's how we played things back in the 70s.

Having more intuitive and less complex rules for small-sized characters like halflings & gnomes is a great milestone for PF2.0. Kudos to the Paizo team.


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See, I actually like the visual of a 3 foot Gnome swinging a 5 foot blade. I'm cool with them not doing it as well without specific feats though.

If Amiri is going to keep her iconic oversized weapon, it seems like we need to have a way for people to bypass normal size restrictions. I'm guessing proficiency will play into this. If you have master proficiency in martial weapons, it may go down to expert or lower when wielding an oversized martial weapon. And there will probably be some way to buy that proficiency back.


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Snickersnax wrote:
A chimpanzee is NOT the size of a gnome or goblin. chimpanzees weigh about 100 lbs. gnomes weigh about 40 lbs and goblins weigh about 30lbs.

I said "size", not "weight", and I stand by it. If you are saying that to be versimiltudinous, small races should be a little heavier I could get behind that.

If OTOH, you are trying to argue that it is impossible for disparate species of different sizes to have similar strength scores (or that an average human could expect to wrestle an average chimp and win), then you are simply wrong.

ENHenry wrote:
Orignal 3e did not have different damage dice for small and medium sizes, it just differentiated which sized characters could use them by proportionality.

And Original D&D did not have different damage dice at all in the core; all weapons did d6.

Variable damage dice by weapons type were added in the first supplement.

_
glass.


Pathfinder Adventure Path, Campaign Setting, Companion, Modules, Starfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

I like what I'm seeing so far! Good idea on removing damage die size differences for the sling, and maybe other weapons? I don't know why it didn't occur to me before to do so. I may look to doing the same in my current PF1 campaign, for weapons that realistically don't need to be scaled down in size for small creatures to wield.


Wheldrake wrote:
Of course, we have not had this confirmed. We only know that slings and all other weapons will not have a separate damage die for small characters. But I can't imagine the guys at Paizo allowing a loophole where a 3-foot gnome could routinely swing around a 5-foot greatsword. It's just so not happening. So they must have some rule in mind such as the one I describe here. It's how we played things back in the 70s.

Eh, I wouldn't be so sure. They could be okay with gnomes using weapons bigger them. Perhaps in a world where humans who train at killing things can learn to jump 30' in the air to smack flying magicians down without learning any magic, a weapon being bigger than a warrior isn't pushing the realism threshold. It is not for me. Then again, maybe using bigger weapons will be a barbarian or fighter class feat gated behind a proficiency level. Or perhaps it will be strictly removed from play, for pushing the realism threshold for them or their biggest target audience. The fun part of this is we do not really know. I'd wait for confirmation before getting too certain there.


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I'm actually not nearly as fussed about all the small races getting a +2 to Charisma. Charisma is just one of several mechanics within the game, and a high charisma can be played in a vast number of different ways.

Amiable
Boisterous ("look at me! Look at me! Look at me now! It is fun to have fun but you have to know how!")
Commanding ("Sergeant, I want you to gather your men and take that bridge!")
Empathetic
Giving
Intimidating
Jovial
Kind
Seductive
Zealous ("follow me, and we will crush the unbelievers!")

tl;dr - there are lots of ways to differentiate goblins, gnomes and halflings by roleplay, regardless of having the same stat bonus.


Also, I really like this blog post. Gives mechanics I have wanted since the start, even if I haven't been begging for them (Gnomes! Luck-powers!), indicates that small sized martials may be better in PF2, hints at some broader design choices and features of the game, and is written in a tone that seems appropriate for the subject. Lots of promise and plenty to look forward to moving forward.


Albatoonoe wrote:
Hm, has anyone talked about how all abilities seem to have tags associated with them in a way similar to spells.

Overuse them and it will feel very gamey and hurt the ability for some players to immerse themselves into their characters. We'll have to wait and see how they present it and how D&D 4th edish it feels. Presentation is going to be make or break on this point.


Wheldrake wrote:
Nox Aeterna wrote:
And when the small guy decides to instead pick up the great sword that is actually much larger than him the halforc just dropped?

Agreed. That would be silly. Not that we don't have a few overtly silly things going on in our game, but still.

The problem with weapon size can be easily handled without having an additional collumn with reduced damage for small-sized weapons.

All you need to do is say that small-sized characters can:
- use a shortswort, handaxe or light mace (or smaller weapons) in one hand, or
- use a longsword, battleaxe, shortspear or warhammer in two hands, but
- they can't use a greatsword, polearm with reach, greataxe or similar sized weapons at all.

Additionally, they can use a shortbow, sling or light crossbow, but not a longbow or heavy crossbow (unless it's pintle-mounted).
{. . .}

And if you want to add verisimilitude to the issue of the grips not being right for different sizes, have weapons in areas frequented by two neighboring sizes of Humanoids be commonly made (especially if Masterwork) with grips that have intermediate characteristics, so that creatures of both sizes can adapt to them. Usually this would be Small and Medium creatures, but you could also find examples such as Huge Giants that have subordinate Large Giants.


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Mark Seifter wrote:
TwilightKnight wrote:

"Additionally, the sling is now a more formidable weapon than in Pathfinder First Edition—we've both increased its damage and done away with the difference in damage die size between Small and Medium creatures."

The way this reads is a bit misleading. Is it that slings (and only slings) will have the same damage small vs medium? Or will all weapons not have the same damage. I read it as only slings are getting this treatment, but others are reading all weapons are. Can we get designer commentary please?

All weapons!

Considering the history on this... are the rules for changing weapon sizes beyond small/medium easier?


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UnArcaneElection wrote:

Since a move to differentiate the Small Core races seems to be building, count me in on voting that a Wisdom bonus is more appropriate for Halflings than a Charisma bonus, even though this conflicts with the Pathfinder 1st Edition description. And also count me in on voting that a Constitution bonus is more appropriate for Goblins than a bonus to any mental score.

You know, I went back and re-read it, and I gotta say... It's kind of odd. They start out being described as Charismatic (almost very Gnome-y), but then later on in other parts that feel dissipates a bit.

I mean, you have quotes like this from the beginning:
"They firmly believe they can turn any situation to their advantage, and sometimes gleefully leap into trouble without any solid plan to extricate themselves if things go awry."
And
"Yet halflings’ curiosity often overwhelms their good sense, leading to poor decisions and narrow escapes."

But then further down:
"They get along fairly well with gnomes, although most halflings regard these eccentric creatures with a hefty dose of caution." Why? You don't seem that different? And also:
"Many halflings lead perfectly fulfilling lives in the shadow of their larger neighbors, while some prefer more nomadic lives, traveling the world and experiencing all it has to offer." But judging from their descriptions above, it seems like it should be "Some...many..." and not the way it is.

I don't know now. I guess Halflings are Charismatic in their description. Now my complaint is that you have a small race that likes to travel and experience life and can be reckless and... well, who am I describing? Yeah. That's my problem. They're too alike.


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I'm a little disappointed with the factor that, although PF2 is trying to be a new edition, they are basically thinking right beside the box instead of a relatively far distance from it like they did with the action economy (though even that is essentially a copy-paste from the Unchained book; at least the game is designed with that economy in mind, so it actually works properly). Three races with almost identical attribute arrays and feat options (such as good stealthing and Charisma Bonuses) is no bueno. I can pick any class and any background, apply it to all 3 small Ancestries, and they will all play exactly the same. That's boring, and pretty lazy design, sorry-not-sorry.

Streamlining and simplifying the rules for players is one thing. Homogenizing and having usually important choices no longer mattering because they're all basically the same result is a whole other mess that I really don't want this game to be spattered with.


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That halfling illustration does NOT look like he has a CHA bonus. O.o

I completely agree on the ability score arrays on the small races. Small = cute / cuddly is not good design. Give us racial ancestral diversity, please. This isn't even hard. This is low-hanging fruit. I believe in you Paizo; let's do this right. :)


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My biggest complaint about charisma bonuses for halflings and gnomes is that they start the whole blog with this sentence.

"Overlooked and disrespected, halflings and gnomes get by in their own way."

Paizo, Please don't create a game with a rift like this between the math and the language. If halflings and gnomes are overlooked and disrespected, they have no reason to have a +2 charisma modifier. OTOH if they have a +2 charisma bonus they should be a race that other races respect, fear or admire.


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Snickersnax wrote:

My biggest complaint about charisma bonuses for halflings and gnomes is that they start the whole blog with this sentence.

"Overlooked and disrespected, halflings and gnomes get by in their own way."

Paizo, Please don't create a game with a rift like this between the math and the language. If halflings and gnomes are overlooked and disrespected, they have no reason to have a +2 charisma modifier. OTOH if they have a +2 charisma bonus they should be a race that other races respect, fear or admire.

Charisma, while it relates to social interaction, is as much an intrinsic part of the character as Strength or Intelligence it isn't affected by who, if anyone, is around - though it may, of course, affect how the character can use his Charisma.


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Pathfinder Adventure Path, Roleplaying Game Subscriber

Okay. Let's look at the Goblins for a second. I can see an argument both for and against them getting a +2 to Constitution.

On the Pro side, yeah, they can eat just about anything and that strongly suggests they've got an iron stomach and can cope better with rancid food and the like.

On the Nay side, it could be suggested that constant hunger and poor quality of food wracks their bodies and leaves then less healthy. They aren't able to eat bad food because they're just that much tougher, they're able to eat it because that is the only food they ever had and they're weaker as a result. A proper diet might see them being healthy and stronger but... they won't get that diet. Even if rescued as infants, the fact their mothers often were hungry while carrying them to term means they suffered stunted growth... as shown by their oversized heads but scrawny bodies.

As a side note, that might suggest that if a rescued female goblin infant were raised with proper food, then her young (assuming she continues getting a proper diet throughout her pregnancy) would actually end up near the stature of hobgoblins. Scary thought that. Be amusing though if someone wanted to play a goblin who was maximum height... "yeah, the Heroes of Sandpoint rescued my mom from dying of starvation as a baby, and got her a nice human home. She was still a bit wild at times and hooked up with a goblin lad but he died and her family took her back in. She gave birth to me and I sprouted up like a weed. Go figure. I've a sister who's only an inch shorter than me, and my brother is even taller."

------------

Anyway, Goblins have had a bardic history going all the way back to Rise of the Runelords. So let them have the Charisma Bonus. Give the Halflings a Wisdom Bonus because everything in their write-up strongly suggests strength-of-will, and Wisdom is very much a part of that. And the intuitive and curious nature of Gnomes strongly hints at a higher intelligence, so go with that for Gnomes.

Paizo, you don't need to feel bound by 3x D&D anymore. And you have this odd tendency to have a LOT of your Small races have a Charisma boost. Break away from that. Short does not mean Charismatic. (Napoleon was not short, btw. He was of average height for the time, and claims he was "short" were English propaganda to try and diminish his exploits by suggesting he was overcompensating.)

So definitely, try something new.
Goblins: Dex and Cha bonuses, Wis penalty.
Halflings: Dex and Wis bonuses, Str penalty.
Gnomes: Con and Int bonuses, Str penalty.

You've differentiated all three races as a result. And with future small-size races once you start work on an Advanced Race Book, you can further differentiate them.
For instance, Ratfolk could have a Dex and Int bonus, and a Cha penalty because of discrimination against them (they're wanderers and they unfortunately resemble rats which folk are not fond of).
Grippli could have a Dex and Wis bonus, and an Str (or even Con!) penalty.
Kobolds could have a Dex and Cha bonus, and a Con penalty.

These smaller races are now differentiated stat-wise and give an interesting bit of diversity for stats of various races. Doing this with medium-sized races would also allow for some needed diversity rather than have everyone with the same bonuses and penalties.

At least, this is what I've felt as a GM. It would be interesting to see things branch out more and become more diverse and varied. And it makes it more fun as well.


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I think a lot of good arguments have been made for giving Halflings wisdom over charisma, and there's a decent argument for giving intelligence to goblins or gnomes. Seems like the only reason gnomes and Halflings are both Charisma is legacy.

Buuuut... With the floating +2, and charisma now relevant to all characters thanks to Resonance, how much does this actually matter? Like we can make the races work for anything equally well, barring a penalty to the key stat of whatever class.

I'm more concerned about ancestry feats being too spread out to make low level races distinct from each other, and the baseline ancestry traits mentioned for speed and vision not being balanced without more qualities to balance them out.

Silver Crusade

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Snickersnax wrote:

My biggest complaint about charisma bonuses for halflings and gnomes is that they start the whole blog with this sentence.

"Overlooked and disrespected, halflings and gnomes get by in their own way."

Paizo, Please don't create a game with a rift like this between the math and the language. If halflings and gnomes are overlooked and disrespected, they have no reason to have a +2 charisma modifier. OTOH if they have a +2 charisma bonus they should be a race that other races respect, fear or admire.

... no?

Just because your race is inclined to be charismatic doesn’t mean other groups will respect you.


Crayon wrote:
Snickersnax wrote:

My biggest complaint about charisma bonuses for halflings and gnomes is that they start the whole blog with this sentence.

"Overlooked and disrespected, halflings and gnomes get by in their own way."

Paizo, Please don't create a game with a rift like this between the math and the language. If halflings and gnomes are overlooked and disrespected, they have no reason to have a +2 charisma modifier. OTOH if they have a +2 charisma bonus they should be a race that other races respect, fear or admire.

Charisma, while it relates to social interaction, is as much an intrinsic part of the character as Strength or Intelligence it isn't affected by who, if anyone, is around - though it may, of course, affect how the character can use his Charisma.

If you describe a generalized ancestry as weak and easily encumbered, you don't expect that ancestry to grant a +2 bonus to strength. In fact, you would be more inclined to be thinking that this group should have a strength penalty. Likewise with intelligence, dim-witted and poor memory would not be traits associated with an intelligence bonus. They would be descriptions associated with an intelligence penalty

If a race is described as overlooked and disrespected, you would be expecting a charisma penalty not a charisma bonus.

High charisma would be indicative of effective social interactions just
like high strength is indicative of effective item interactions (strong characters can carry more and hit harder with weapons), and intelligent characters can problem solve and recall information better.

Perhaps there is something in my original post that is poorly worded or you have misinterpreted? I don't see a problem here.

Silver Crusade

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Snickersnax wrote:
If a race is described as overlooked and disrespected, you would be expecting a charisma penalty not a charisma bonus.

Not in the slightest.

And I took the “overlooked” to be literal... since they’re both small races.


Rysky wrote:
Snickersnax wrote:
If a race is described as overlooked and disrespected, you would be expecting a charisma penalty not a charisma bonus.

Not in the slightest.

And I took the “overlooked” to be literal... since they’re both small races.

While that is certainly a clever play on words, in the context of the whole paragraph, that would not seem to be the main meaning.

Sovereign Court

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Rysky wrote:
Snickersnax wrote:

My biggest complaint about charisma bonuses for halflings and gnomes is that they start the whole blog with this sentence.

"Overlooked and disrespected, halflings and gnomes get by in their own way."

Paizo, Please don't create a game with a rift like this between the math and the language. If halflings and gnomes are overlooked and disrespected, they have no reason to have a +2 charisma modifier. OTOH if they have a +2 charisma bonus they should be a race that other races respect, fear or admire.

... no?

Just because your race is inclined to be charismatic doesn’t mean other groups will respect you.

Agreed. Charisma is an attribute of the character, not an indication of their place in society.

Charisma isn't just diplomacy, which makes friendships. It is also Bluff and Disguise, which can lead someone to be overlooked. And respect comes from Intimidate, with which small races may still have a penalty.


So, does no one think that the gnomes and halflings in their pf1 descriptions both sound pretty similar? I guess I've always role-played them differently, but they seem to actually be not all that different, according to the descriptions.

EDIT: unlike in this post here, that we're all commenting on, where they actually do sound at least pretty distinct from each other.

Liberty's Edge

Subparhiggins wrote:

To be honest I'm more that perfectly happy to trade away increases in damage die for larger sizes if this means that Paizo is more willing to include Large sized PC races like they do in Starfinder.

I just want to be tall. Let me be a tall Gnoll. Or a Minotaur. Or both, both is good.

Well, if the Egyptian gods are included in a supplement, such as one on Osirion, I can see some civilized gnolls be introduced to the worship of Anubis. (Also, this would be a tip of the hat to some 3rd Edition D20 Products such as Monte Cook's Arcana Evolved and Green Ronin's Hamunaptara.)


KingOfAnything wrote:
Rysky wrote:
Snickersnax wrote:

My biggest complaint about charisma bonuses for halflings and gnomes is that they start the whole blog with this sentence.

"Overlooked and disrespected, halflings and gnomes get by in their own way."

Paizo, Please don't create a game with a rift like this between the math and the language. If halflings and gnomes are overlooked and disrespected, they have no reason to have a +2 charisma modifier. OTOH if they have a +2 charisma bonus they should be a race that other races respect, fear or admire.

... no?

Just because your race is inclined to be charismatic doesn’t mean other groups will respect you.

Agreed. Charisma is an attribute of the character, not an indication of their place in society.

Charisma isn't just diplomacy, which makes friendships. It is also Bluff and Disguise, which can lead someone to be overlooked. And respect comes from Intimidate, with which small races may still have a penalty.

You're predicting a penalty on Intimidation checks for Halflings and Gnomes? Really?

Anyway, I've always hated the "I'm big, so my skill at Intimidation is better." I always houserule that crap away. If you are a giant, you are intimidating, but you are only as intimidating as you look. The intimidation skill increases the level of intimidation over what you already have. If it is size that is intimidating to somebody, rolling intimidation increases your "effective size" for intimidation purposes, but if they aren't afraid of your size, like perhaps some faeries that live in tunnels into which they know they can escape, intimidation better add onto something else, like the arcane energy sizzling around your fingertips. Do you think you can intimidate a noble who is surrounded by an army of warriors? Not with size, your intimidation better be added to your social status. (A straight intimidation check, without size modifiers, should work in any situation, though.)

In other respects, I agree with the sentiment that an overlooked race could be comprised of small, often charismatic individuals if they are not prone to become wizards or some other class that most certainly would be intimidating. The charisma bonus should add to the intimidation factor of a necromancer surrounded by skeletons, even if he is just a goblin.


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Tangent101 wrote:
Napoleon was not short, btw. He was of average height for the time, and claims he was "short" were English propaganda to try and diminish his exploits by suggesting he was overcompensating.
Not completely true
Quote:
At 5 feet 2 inches (1.57 m), he was the height of an average French male but short for an aristocrat or officer
Napoleon Complex
Quote:
Napoleon was often seen with his Imperial Guard, which contributed to the perception of his being short because the Imperial Guards were of above average height

Not that it really has anything to do with anything.


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Looks good! I know we don't have the full picture, but I am digging the potential for character creation and how it will play out from there.


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John Lynch 106 wrote:
Tangent101 wrote:
Napoleon was not short, btw. He was of average height for the time, and claims he was "short" were English propaganda to try and diminish his exploits by suggesting he was overcompensating.
Not completely true
Quote:
At 5 feet 2 inches (1.57 m), he was the height of an average French male but short for an aristocrat or officer
Napoleon Complex
Quote:
Napoleon was often seen with his Imperial Guard, which contributed to the perception of his being short because the Imperial Guards were of above average height
Not that it really has anything to do with anything.

Napoleon wasn't 1.57m high, he was 1.69m high. He was 5 feet 2 inches in the FRENCH measurement system, which today is the equivalent of 5 feet, 7 Inches. At the time, the average height of a frenchman was 5 feet 5 inches (in today's measurements), so he was above average.

Napoleon being short was entirely British propaganda and nothing else.


TheFinish wrote:
John Lynch 106 wrote:
Tangent101 wrote:
Napoleon was not short, btw. He was of average height for the time, and claims he was "short" were English propaganda to try and diminish his exploits by suggesting he was overcompensating.
Not completely true
Quote:
At 5 feet 2 inches (1.57 m), he was the height of an average French male but short for an aristocrat or officer
Napoleon Complex
Quote:
Napoleon was often seen with his Imperial Guard, which contributed to the perception of his being short because the Imperial Guards were of above average height
Not that it really has anything to do with anything.

Napoleon wasn't 1.57m high, he was 1.69m high. He was 5 feet 2 inches in the FRENCH measurement system, which today is the equivalent of 5 feet, 7 Inches. At the time, the average height of a frenchman was 5 feet 5 inches (in today's measurements), so he was above average.

Napoleon being short was entirely British propaganda and nothing else.

I believe this to be true. Ironically, the Napoleonic Wars reduced the average height of the French substantially because you had to be tall to fill the most dangerous military positions. I don't know if it is irony, but Napoleon actually grew in relative stature the longer the war went on.


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Not that I'm not finding this information fascinating (seriously, I am into this kind of stuff), but can this thread not be about Napoleon's height?


totoro wrote:
KingOfAnything wrote:
Rysky wrote:
Snickersnax wrote:

My biggest complaint about charisma bonuses for halflings and gnomes is that they start the whole blog with this sentence.

"Overlooked and disrespected, halflings and gnomes get by in their own way."

Paizo, Please don't create a game with a rift like this between the math and the language. If halflings and gnomes are overlooked and disrespected, they have no reason to have a +2 charisma modifier. OTOH if they have a +2 charisma bonus they should be a race that other races respect, fear or admire.

... no?

Just because your race is inclined to be charismatic doesn’t mean other groups will respect you.

Agreed. Charisma is an attribute of the character, not an indication of their place in society.

Charisma isn't just diplomacy, which makes friendships. It is also Bluff and Disguise, which can lead someone to be overlooked. And respect comes from Intimidate, with which small races may still have a penalty.

You're predicting a penalty on Intimidation checks for Halflings and Gnomes? Really?

Anyway, I've always hated the "I'm big, so my skill at Intimidation is better." I always houserule that crap away. If you are a giant, you are intimidating, but you are only as intimidating as you look. The intimidation skill increases the level of intimidation over what you already have. If it is size that is intimidating to somebody, rolling intimidation increases your "effective size" for intimidation purposes, but if they aren't afraid of your size, like perhaps some faeries that live in tunnels into which they know they can escape, intimidation better add onto something else, like the arcane energy sizzling around your fingertips. Do you think you can intimidate a noble who is surrounded by an army of warriors? Not with size, your intimidation better be added to your social status. (A straight intimidation check, without size modifiers, should work in any situation, though.)

In other respects, I agree with the...

The +/-4 to Intimidation for relative Size difference isn't a House Rule (though I agree it didn't make sense most of the time). In any case, I seriously doubt we'll see anything like that in 2e as it seems diametrically opposed to the stated design priority.

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